In two days’ time, Anohni, the avant-garde lead singer of Antony and the Johnsons, is going on an eight-day, 110-mile walk across the Western Australian desert. On the walk, Anohni will be accompanied by more than 100 of the native Martu people whose home covers a broad swath of the western Australian desert. This is all in response to a government-approved plan to build a uranium mine within 50 miles of the Martu community of Parnngurr.
In 2013, Anohni spent 10 days living with the Martu. She has since campaigned to raise awareness of the marginalized Martu community by singing at special events and donating concert proceeds to their cause. The walk is a high-profile protest meant to shine a spotlight on the potential open-cart uranium mine, a project being funded by Cameco and Mitsubishi.
Anohni’s connection to the Martu feels spiritually in line with the political themes of her new album, Hopelessness (which The A.V. Club gave a B+). The album takes on a huge variety of global issues, from pollution to drone-bombing to Obama’s legacy. Anohni’s passion for the Martu community and for defending them from this physical and existential threat was made clear in a 2015 interview with The Guardian:
I spent 10 days with them, watching them paint in the art shed in the sweltering heat, occasionally singing a song for them, to their amusement. I am sure I was a sight for sore eyes, but they were very gracious and allowed me to witness their process. I felt so honored to be afforded the opportunity. I learned so much from watching them … Their understanding of the land and its intricate interconnecting systems is profound, as evident in their paintings and in their approach to land stewardship.